At Benfell Ltd we supply a great range of produce to a wide range of organisations throughout Sussex, Surrey, Kent and Hampshire, including schools, bakeries and of course caterers. Throughout our extensive history operating out of Hurstpierpoint we have gotten to know the catering trade and what makes for a great caterer. In this article we're going to share with you what we consider to be our top 10 catering tips, however if you have any suggestions of your own then we would love to hear from you, you can find our contact details at the end of this article.
The amount of food that a caterer prepares can change quite drastically, with some caterers only preparing a handful of meals a day through to those who feed hundreds, but regardless of whether you're preparing food for a select few or many, it's still important to pay close attention to details. Simple things such as presentation go a long way to impressing your clients; while taste and smell go a long way to deciding if we like food, we're sticklers for presentation. While it might not be appropriate for you or your clientele to serve food in a gourmet style, putting that extra effort in to ensure that the presentation of your food has that something special will help your business and keep your clients coming back to you time and time again.
We stick to stringent health and safety rules and ensure that all of our produce is prepared and delivered in a way that does not compromise it during the time that it is with us, right up until it is delivered to you. Ensuring that you carry on with a dedication to food safety isn't just something that we would recommend; it's also your responsibility as a caterer. Aside from the obvious point of not making people sick and being shut down by the relevant authorities, ensuring that you strictly adhere to food safety standards is a highly beneficial marketing tool that will put you in good stead with your clients.
While some caterers can shy away from sharing testimonials or reviews from their clientele out of fear that the odd bad one will make it through, allowing your clients the freedom to post reviews is highly beneficial. Firstly it legitimises your business in the eyes of a perspective client who may not have heard of you before, showing to them that you haven't just popped up and have a history of providing your services to a range of clients. Secondly it's a great way to prove to people how good you actually are: While you can spend time as part of a pitch convincing someone of how great your food and drinks are, having a genuine review available to easily view is an easy way to support your pitch. While having reviews and testimonials live on your website is great, utilising online review systems such as Google+, TripAdvisor and other such websites adds legitimacy to your reviews, and can boost the appearance of your website in search engines such as Google.
No one wants to give their money to someone who clearly doesn't want to be there; we've all been in the scenario whether in a shop or a supermarket where the person serving is watching the clock and gearing up for home time. While you can't account for every eventuality in the lives of your employees, ensuring that your team is motivated to do their job and wants to perform well will reflect well on your business. This can be achieved through a number of methods, but incentivising certain duties can be very beneficial.
While we're on the topic of a motivated team, it's important to place an emphasis on customer service. This is a no-brainer, but ensuring that every member of your team is polite and smiles when visible by clients goes a long way towards generating a positive work environment and makes your client's feel happy to be working with you.
While we all have certain talents and abilities that we know we excel in or are comfortable with, don't be afraid to shift some paradigms and shake things up a bit. Proving to a client that you can be flexible as a caterer will help them to feel that little bit special and it also shows that you have an element of professionalism in your approach to catering. The added benefit of not sticking to a strict menu is that you open up your services to a wider range of potential customers who may be looking for something special that you're not immediately known for, so be sure to advertise that you can tailor any item of your menu.
We're sure that you are proud of your food and regardless of any sense of perfectionism, your confident that the food and drinks that you serve are highly delectable. Unfortunately your prospective clients may be unaware of this. A great way to remedy this situation is to hold tester or tasting sessions throughout the year. Whether these are held on your own premises or at a relevant event, providing prospective clients with a slice of your offerings is a great way for them to get to know both your business and how great the food and drink that you offer is.
This fits in with being flexible; as with any business it's important to be open to something new and not to rely too heavily on the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality. Experiment with new ideas from time to time and don't let your catering business stagnate. Showing that you're capable of a wide range of menus will make your catering business far more attractive to more prospective clients and improves the skills of your team.
If you do have a speciality, that extra special dish that you know that you do better than the competition, then don't be afraid of making a big deal of it. In the world of business modesty isn't always the best tool, and it pays to promote yourself in the best light so if you if you offer the best cheese boards or make the best burgers from near and far then make a big deal of it and make this the focal point of your pitch.
One of the most important factors of your business as a caterer is the ingredients that you use in all of the menus that you offer. Having poor quality ingredients will result in dishes that won't wow your customers which in turn can lead to negative reviews, so it's important to make sure that you have building blocks of quality ingredients in place. It's also vital that you know that your food supplier is reliable and will deliver quality produce reliably to save you from a scenario where you don't have what you need to run your business. Thankfully there's a solution to this scenario:
At Benfell Ltd we have years of experience of providing high quality food and soft drinks to caterers of all shapes and sizes throughout the South East and from that experience we know what works best for our clients. We strive to ensure that we supply all of our customers with the best produce that they need to run a successful business and we're exceptionally proud of the level of reliability that are able to offer. If you would like to find out how we as a food wholesaler can benefit your catering business then please don't hesitate to get in touch with us and we'll be happy to discuss your needs and requirements. You can easily contact us by competing our contact form, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or alternatively you can call us on 01273 833641.